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Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN) Shareholders Have Enjoyed An Impressive 101% Share Price Gain

Simply Wall St

The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But if you buy shares in a really great company, you can more than double your money. For instance the Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:MORN) share price is 101% higher than it was three years ago. How nice for those who held the stock! On top of that, the share price is up 14% in about a quarter. But this could be related to the strong market, which is up 18% in the last three months.

Check out our latest analysis for Morningstar

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

Over the last three years, Morningstar failed to grow earnings per share, which fell 3.2% (annualized).

Given the share price resilience, we don't think the (declining) EPS numbers are a good measure of how the business is moving forward, right now. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

Languishing at just 0.7%, we doubt the dividend is doing much to prop up the share price. It could be that the revenue growth of 13% per year is viewed as evidence that Morningstar is growing. If the company is being managed for the long term good, today's shareholders might be right to hold on.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Morningstar's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Morningstar's TSR for the last 3 years was 107%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Morningstar provided a TSR of 12% over the last twelve months. But that return falls short of the market. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 16% per year for five years. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Morningstar , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.